buddha nature...

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buddha nature...

Postby alan... » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:18 am

the idea supposedly could have roots in a quote from the anguttara nikaya 1.49-52:

"Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements." {I,v,9}

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements." {I,v,10}

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind." {I,vi,1}

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." {I,vi,2}"*


that being said, buddha nature is what allows the idea of instant awakening in other traditions. that if you are already technically a buddha, you can just see it all at once and be enlightened. does this idea have any validity in theravada or would this kind of thing be considered generally impossible? is there any other equivalency of buddha nature in theravada?

*
"Pabhassara Sutta: Luminous" (AN 1.49-52), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 17 April 2011, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 28 February 2013.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:41 am

Buddhanature was, in its original, impulse an expression of emptiness of the mind of any self-existent beingness. It is was a way of expressing the potential for awakening. A Pali text that is far closer to what buddhanature is about than those you quoted is:

    Samyutta Nikaya III 144; CDB 954: "Bhikkhus [monks, the Buddha said, holding a small lump of dung on his palm], there is not even this much of individual existence [attabhava] that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself. If there was this much individual existence that was permanent , stable, eternal, not subject to change, this living the of the holy for the complete destruction of suffering could not be discerned."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby cooran » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:46 am

Hello Alan,

Buddhanature has been discussed previously:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3878

and there are a number of other threads also which may be of assistance if a search is done.

With metta
Chris
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:11 am

tiltbillings wrote:Buddhanature was, in its original, impulse an expression of emptiness of the mind of any self-existent beingness. It is was a way of expressing the potential for awakening. A Pali text that is far closer to what buddhanature is about than those you quoted is:

    Samyutta Nikaya III 144; CDB 954: "Bhikkhus [monks, the Buddha said, holding a small lump of dung on his palm], there is not even this much of individual existence [attabhava] that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself. If there was this much individual existence that was permanent , stable, eternal, not subject to change, this living the of the holy for the complete destruction of suffering could not be discerned."


interesting. i see what you're saying. in some schools this is how they define it. i've seen mahayana schools that lean more toward an unchanging entity as this "buddha nature" which sounds a lot like a self as well.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:12 am

cooran wrote:Hello Alan,

Buddhanature has been discussed previously:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3878

and there are a number of other threads also which may be of assistance if a search is done.

With metta
Chris


thanks i'll look into that.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby ground » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:18 am

Actually, in practice, it is the buddhist variant of "soul" :sage:
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby Mr Man » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:54 am

ground wrote:Actually, in practice, it is the buddhist variant of "soul" :sage:


Only if that is what you want it to be.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby ground » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:54 am

Mr Man wrote:
ground wrote:Actually, in practice, it is the buddhist variant of "soul" :sage:


Only if that is what you want it to be.

It is not depedent on the concept "Buddha nature is soul [or this or that]" or similar. Mere affirmation "I have buddha nature" entails that it is a variant of "soul" in that the affirmation entails the same effects like "I have a soul". :sage:
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby Mr Man » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:49 am

ground wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
ground wrote:Actually, in practice, it is the buddhist variant of "soul" :sage:


Only if that is what you want it to be.

It is not depedent on the concept "Buddha nature is soul [or this or that]" or similar. Mere affirmation "I have buddha nature" entails that it is a variant of "soul" in that the affirmation entails the same effects like "I have a soul". :sage:


The meaning of "Soul", as I understand it, goes beyond just a sense of being and is used to describe some kind of "metaphysical reality". I haven't had much contact with Mahayana but I thought buddha nature was just a way of talking (a tool).
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby Nyana » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:34 am

The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra:

    O Mahāmati, with a view to casting aside the heterodox theory, you must treat the tathāgatagarbha as not self.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:40 pm

Mr Man wrote: I haven't had much contact with Mahayana but I thought buddha nature was just a way of talking (a tool).
How buddha-nature/tathagatagarbha is used in the Mahayana varies greatly over time, place and school.

For your edification:

-- The tathagatagarbha [buddha-nature] is not just any emptiness,
however. Rather it is specifically emptiness of inherent existence when
applied to a sentient being's mind, his (her) mental continuum. ... When
the mind is defiled in the unenlightened state this emptiness is called
tathagatagarbha. When the mind has become pure through following the
path and attaining Buddhahood so emptiness is referred to in the dGe
lugs tradition as the Buddha's Essence Body (_svabhavikakaya_). The
Buddha's pure mind in that state is his Gnosis or Wisdom Body
(_jnanakaya_), while the two taken together, the Buddha's mind as a
flow empty of inherent existence, is what the tradition calls the
_dharmakaya._ ... This also means that the tathagatagarbha itself is
strictly the fundamental cause of Buddhahood, and is no way identical
with the result, _dharmakaya_ or Essence Body as the case may be,
except in the sense that both defiled mind and Buddha's mind are empty
of inherent existence. ...which is to say that even the _dharmakaya_,
and, of course, emptiness itself, are all empty of inherent existence.
They are not 'truly established', there is no Absolute in the sense of an
ultimate really existing entity. --- Paul Williams MAHAYANA
BUDDHISM, pub by Routledge. Pg 106-7.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby Mr Man » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:49 pm

Thanks Ñāṇa and tiltbillings

I guess how "soul" is used also varies greatly. Are they a good match?
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:17 pm

Mr Man wrote:Thanks Ñāṇa and tiltbillings

I guess how "soul" is used also varies greatly. Are they a good match?
Actually, not. Even in the prolix and highly technical blurb I just quoted about, "soul" -- with its connations of self indentity and unchangingness -- would not be appropriate.

Now, of course, things are never, ever simple. The term buddhanature, as it is often used by Western Buddhists, often suggest a soulness, but then so does nibbana, as it is often used by some Theravadins, even here. Language can be a problem.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:40 am

ground wrote:Actually, in practice, it is the buddhist variant of "soul" :sage:


that's what i thought.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:43 am

Mr Man wrote:
The meaning of "Soul", as I understand it, goes beyond just a sense of being and is used to describe some kind of "metaphysical reality". I haven't had much contact with Mahayana but I thought buddha nature was just a way of talking (a tool).


as far as i know, in mahayana, if you become a fully realized buddha you become immortal essentially and can come and go between your "buddha land" and samsara as you please. examples are dizang, amitabha and kuan yin. they are immortal (at least until all of samsara has become buddhas anyway) and answer prayers and help people. in theravada there are no immortal buddhas floating around helping people and answering prayers. so it's like discovering an eternal being within you and becoming that being. as opposed to the theravada realization of having no eternal self.

you can split hairs and say that once samsara is empty everything disappears into nirvana or something so buddha nature is not a self, but until then being an immortal being is as close to a soul/self as you can get without coming out and saying it.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:28 pm

alan... wrote:as far as i know, in mahayana, if you become a fully realized buddha you become immortal essentially and can come and go between your "buddha land" and samsara as you please. examples are dizang, amitabha and kuan yin. they are immortal (at least until all of samsara has become buddhas anyway) and answer prayers and help people.


Hi Alan,

In my opinion, that is a misinterpretation of these teachings.

in theravada there are no immortal buddhas floating around helping people and answering prayers. so it's like discovering an eternal being within you and becoming that being. as opposed to the theravada realization of having no eternal self.


In Theravada it's the same, believe it or not... one glaring example is the Dhammakaya sect. They're not small either, but very big. If I understand what they teach correctly, they believe that Nibbana is the eternal self, or Atta.

In Theravada, there's the "unborn," the "deathless element," etc. When a person interprets these in a certain way, do you think that's the fault of the teaching, or the person's interpretation?

For example, Ven. Thanissaro criticizes the Buddha nature I think as an exercise in eternalism (something or other). To me, that is just what he read into it, possibly based on his hidden attachment... it has nothing to do with what I understand as Buddha nature.

Whatever bias a person might have, I think that is what he will read into the teachings, regardless. That's why the Dhamma is very subtle... even when it's glaringly obvious.

:anjali:
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:45 pm

alan... wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
The meaning of "Soul", as I understand it, goes beyond just a sense of being and is used to describe some kind of "metaphysical reality". I haven't had much contact with Mahayana but I thought buddha nature was just a way of talking (a tool).


as far as i know, in mahayana, if you become a fully realized buddha you become immortal essentially and can come and go between your "buddha land" and samsara as you please. examples are dizang, amitabha and kuan yin. they are immortal (at least until all of samsara has become buddhas anyway) and answer prayers and help people. in theravada there are no immortal buddhas floating around helping people and answering prayers. so it's like discovering an eternal being within you and becoming that being. as opposed to the theravada realization of having no eternal self.

you can split hairs and say that once samsara is empty everything disappears into nirvana or something so buddha nature is not a self, but until then being an immortal being is as close to a soul/self as you can get without coming out and saying it.


I think this is a very naive take on the teachings. Have a look at Cheng Chien Bhikshu's introduction to Manifestation of the Tathagata (excepts from the Flower Ornament Scripture).
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby alan... » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:55 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
alan... wrote:as far as i know, in mahayana, if you become a fully realized buddha you become immortal essentially and can come and go between your "buddha land" and samsara as you please. examples are dizang, amitabha and kuan yin. they are immortal (at least until all of samsara has become buddhas anyway) and answer prayers and help people.


Hi Alan,

In my opinion, that is a misinterpretation of these teachings.

in theravada there are no immortal buddhas floating around helping people and answering prayers. so it's like discovering an eternal being within you and becoming that being. as opposed to the theravada realization of having no eternal self.


In Theravada it's the same, believe it or not... one glaring example is the Dhammakaya sect. They're not small either, but very big. If I understand what they teach correctly, they believe that Nibbana is the eternal self, or Atta.

In Theravada, there's the "unborn," the "deathless element," etc. When a person interprets these in a certain way, do you think that's the fault of the teaching, or the person's interpretation?

For example, Ven. Thanissaro criticizes the Buddha nature I think as an exercise in eternalism (something or other). To me, that is just what he read into it, possibly based on his hidden attachment... it has nothing to do with what I understand as Buddha nature.

Whatever bias a person might have, I think that is what he will read into the teachings, regardless. That's why the Dhamma is very subtle... even when it's glaringly obvious.

:anjali:


there are a thousand different views here. "mahayana" covers a TON of ground. your view surely is perfect for your school or whatever, but mine is certainly found within the mahayana. otherwise how do we explain dizang, kuan yin, amitabha, and so on?

regardless of what the theravada believe, they don't teach that there are personal entities who are immortal and help people and call them "buddhas", that's not how buddha is defined in theravada. at least to my knowledge.

EDIT: apparently the lay folk in some theravada countries believe in the bodhisattvas the same as mahayana folk do. however as far as scripture and most official schools stances on the topic, the above should still be correct.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby alan... » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:10 pm

Dan74 wrote:
alan... wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
The meaning of "Soul", as I understand it, goes beyond just a sense of being and is used to describe some kind of "metaphysical reality". I haven't had much contact with Mahayana but I thought buddha nature was just a way of talking (a tool).


as far as i know, in mahayana, if you become a fully realized buddha you become immortal essentially and can come and go between your "buddha land" and samsara as you please. examples are dizang, amitabha and kuan yin. they are immortal (at least until all of samsara has become buddhas anyway) and answer prayers and help people. in theravada there are no immortal buddhas floating around helping people and answering prayers. so it's like discovering an eternal being within you and becoming that being. as opposed to the theravada realization of having no eternal self.

you can split hairs and say that once samsara is empty everything disappears into nirvana or something so buddha nature is not a self, but until then being an immortal being is as close to a soul/self as you can get without coming out and saying it.


I think this is a very naive take on the teachings. Have a look at Cheng Chien Bhikshu's introduction to Manifestation of the Tathagata (excepts from the Flower Ornament Scripture).


in some mahayana teachings, scriptures and schools this is roughly how it is believed to be. how else could kuan yin, dizang, amitabha and all the rest exist? simply the possibility of being able to become what they are is very similar to many ideas surrounding the concept of an eternal soul. if there were no buddha nature how could they leave samsara to become immortal beings that help man kind? with buddha nature they can do what they do.

deep down we are all buddhas, if kuan yin, dizang, and amitabha are "buddhas", then a "buddha" is someone with the option to live as an immortal being who comes and goes between their own eternal paradise and samsara to help people. if we all have this immortal "buddha" within us then it's nearly identical to a soul. i think it's naive that you don't understand this because you are ignoring the vastness of mahayana teachings and assuming only your school, sect or personal definitions are correct and mine are wrong. in fact mahayana teachings are so broad and cover so much ground that the odds of you being right entirely with no room for my interpretation is next to zero, that is unless you are the foremost scholar on mahayana buddhism and have read every single scripture out there, and know every position and interpretation of every school, in which case i'm likely quite the fool :tongue: .

in the end, your school teaches what it does, that is correct in their circle. my view is taught within mahayana as well, so i am correct as well.
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Re: buddha nature...

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:00 pm

Hi, Alan,
I think you need to keep at the very forefront of your mind something Tilt said a while ago:
tiltbillings wrote:How buddha-nature/tathagatagarbha is used in the Mahayana varies greatly over time, place and school.

I would add "and level of knowledge" to what Tilt said, too.
I think that at the lay (dare I say "folk"?) level in many traditionally-Buddhist countries, buddha-nature is understood in a way quite close to the Christian "soul", and Buddha and bodhisattvas (mainly in mahayana but Kuan Yin has quite a following in Thailand) are understood and worshipped in a way quite close to the Christian God and (Catholic) saints - as benevolent immortal beings who can grant in the real world the prayers of their petitioners.

As for school A being "right" and school B being "wrong" ... that's much too big a question for me but I think it's most likely that most schools are partly right.

:namaste:
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